Issues and Obstacles for a World Governing Body

The experience in the democratic republics shows that conflicting views and personal interests tend to make the governing process difficult, and thus, some form of power structure tends to fill the gap to ensure that necessary things can be accomplished, even when the legislative body representing the populace may be faced with gridlock.  There is a theory of history, in fact, that indicates that the form of government that follows democracy tends to be dictatorship, as the pendulum swings from the one extreme that is characterised by slow, uncertain and mixed action to a form which allows speed and efficiency in action.  These issues plague the possible forms of a world-state as well.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “A more feasible form would be a supreme council of the free and imperial nations of the existing world-system, but this also has its difficulties.  It could only be workable at first if it amounted in fact to an oligarchy of a few strong imperial nations whose voice and volume would prevail at every point over that of the more numerous but smaller non-imperialistic commonwealths and it could only endure by a progressive and, if possible, a peaceful evolution from this sort of oligarchy of actual power to a more just and ideal system in which the imperialistic idea would dissolve and the great empires merge their separate existence into that of a unified mankind.  How far national egoism would allow that evolution to take place without vehement struggles and dangerous convulsions, is, in spite of the superficial liberalism now widely professed, a question still fraught with grave and ominous doubts.”

World history does not support the idea that powerful nations or empires will voluntarily agree to cede their control and the benefits of exercising that control.  It would take an as yet unknown event or crisis to bring about such a result.  A purely democratic form, bogged down by conflicting views and interests, could clearly not address world-crisis issues that otherwise are driving the issue in the first place.  An oligarchic form ruling with a democratic base has the limitations Sri Aurobindo has addressed above.  Clearly some other solutions need to be explored before a resolution can be identified.


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 23, Forms of Government, pp. 203-204